Tropicana refuses anti-Icahn letter from casino workers
ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. (AP) -- A group of Atlantic City casino workers tried to deliver a letter Thursday to billionaire Carl Icahn protesting benefit cuts at the Trump Taj Mahal, but they were turned away.
The workers marched to the Tropicana, which Icahn owns and where they believed he was staying Thursday evening, to try to hand-deliver him a letter. Casino security allowed them to gather in a vestibule, but would not accept the letter.
The letter protested the termination of health and pension coverage at the Taj Mahal, which Icahn is acquiring from bankruptcy court.
"They would not take the letter, but they did listen to us," said Valerie McMorris, a cocktail server at the Taj Mahal for 25 years. "We want our benefits back."
Icahn said he sympathizes with the workers.
"But no one can deny the Taj would be closed without my agreement to lend up to an additional $80 million," he said. "Additionally, it's a bald-faced lie to keep saying that I took away their health care. I am not, nor have I ever been, on the Taj Board or part of management. That being said, I have a simple question: Given that the Taj continues to lose money even without providing health care and with the new work rules, where is the money to restore health care and work rules supposed to come from?"
The march was the union's sixth public protest against Icahn, who says that union rules and the old contract that was terminated by a judge last October are unaffordable in present-day Atlantic City. Icahn has offered stipends to help workers buy coverage under the Affordable Care Act.
The union is appealing the court-ordered termination of its contract with the Taj Mahal. Icahn, who is funding the casino's operations through bankruptcy proceedings, has vowed to close it if the union wins its appeal.
The letter, written on behalf of Taj Mahal and Tropicana workers, addressed Icahn in blunt terms.
"You took away our health care, our pension, our lunch breaks and everything else that made these decent jobs," the letter says. "We want them back. You have more money than we do. But having more money does not give you the right to destroy our health, our livelihoods or our quality of life.
"We will not be bullied by you or anyone else," it continued. "We will not be intimidated. We are the ones the customers come to see and upon whom this business relies. We were here before you came to Atlantic City, and we will be here when you are gone."
(Copyright 2015 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)